Coastal Highway 30A Florida is full of fun stops. You can take in turquoise waters while enjoying surprising adventures along the way. We love this drive and recommend adding this hotspot to your road trip bucket list for the northern portion of the Gulf of Mexico. Keep reading to learn why.
Table of Contents
- What Is the 30A in Florida?
- 9 Things to Do While Driving Highway 30A Florida
- 1. Enjoy the Florida 30A Bike Trail
- 2. Visit Topsail Hill State Park
- 3. Paddleboard on the Coastal Dune Lakes
- 4. Spot Dolphins in Choctawhatchee Bay
- 5. Order Seafood at Stinky’s Fish Camp
- 6. Watch an Outdoor Movie on Florida 30A’s Alys Beach
- 7. Enter the Great American Sandcastle Competition
- 8. Go Hiking in Point Washington State Forest
- 9. Ring the Bell at Bud and Alley’s
- What Will Be Your Favorite Stop?
What Is the 30A in Florida?
Highway 30A is in South Walton County and runs along the Emerald Coast on the Florida Panhandle. It starts just west of Laguna Beach and finishes in Panama City Beach. You can stop by the many restaurants and seaside activities this 12-mile stretch has to offer.
9 Things to Do While Driving Highway 30A Florida
You might be wondering how there can be so much to do on a short highway. Highway 30A Florida fits many activities and sights into one area, making it a great place to spend a week or two. Check out nine of our favorite activities.
1. Enjoy the Florida 30A Bike Trail
About The Timpoochee Trail: There are several places to bike around 30A Florida, but one of the most popular is the Timpoochee Trail. The trail is about 18.5 miles. It begins in Dune Allen and ends at Inlet Beach.
Why You Shouldn’t Miss It: The Timpoochee Trail goes past beach access points, state parks, and dune lakes. It’s a great way to see the Emerald Coast in all its glory. Wear your swimsuit on this bike ride because the water is very tempting!
2. Visit Topsail Hill State Park
Address: 7525 W. County Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
About Topsail Hill State Park: Topsail Hill State Park is known for its white sandy dunes cascading into the Gulf of Mexico. There are plenty of activities in the park, including hiking, bird watching, swimming, picnicking, and more.
Why You Shouldn’t Miss It: Topsail Hill State Park is a great place to base yourself while exploring Florida’s Highway 30A. It has a campground for RVs or tents.
3. Paddleboard on the Coastal Dune Lakes
About the Coastal Dune Lakes: Paddling is a relaxing way to enjoy the inland Coastal Dune Lakes. Fifteen lakes stretch along 26 miles of the Gulf’s coast from Topsail Hill State Park to Rosemary Beach.
Why You Shouldn’t Miss It: The Coastal Dune Lakes offer rare geology in freshwater and saltwater mix. They’re dark brown due to tannin from nearby trees but are safe to swim in. Also, keep watch for different bird species and tortoises while paddleboarding the lakes.
4. Spot Dolphins in Choctawhatchee Bay
About Choctawhatchee Bay: The bay is a short distance west of Florida Highway 30A. It’s approximately 30 miles from one end to the other and is famous for its wildlife. It’s home to dolphins and even endangered species, like the giant gulf sturgeon, which migrates into the bay to spawn.
Best Places for Dolphin Viewing: You’ll likely see bottle-nosed dolphins in Choctawhatchee Bay all year long. One of the best places to view them in the bay is under the Destin Bridge.
Why You Shouldn’t Miss It: Seeing dolphins in the wild is beyond amazing whether you’re young or old. As a result, dolphin spotting is a cherished memory in Florida’s panhandle.
5. Order Seafood at Stinky’s Fish Camp
Address: 5960 W. County Rd 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
About Stinky’s Seafood: Stinky’s Fish Camp may smell like fish, but the taste that hits your mouth is five stars. It’s just east of Topsail Hill State Park on Highway 30A in Florida.
Why You Shouldn’t Miss It: Visitors claim they have the best fresh seafood around. With more than 1,600 reviews, we’re inclined to believe it! Plus, there’s live music on Sundays during the lunch hours.
6. Watch an Outdoor Movie on Florida 30A’s Alys Beach
Address: 9581 County Highway 30A East, Alys Beach, FL 32461
About Alys Beach Outdoor Movies: The amphitheater at Alys Beach puts on outdoor movies. Each week is a different family-friendly film, and a local elementary theater sells concessions. You can enjoy a family movie night and help a good cause!
Why You Shouldn’t Miss It: What’s more fun and unique than watching a movie under the stars at the beach? We think you’ll enjoy the atmosphere perhaps even more than the movie itself!
7. Enter the Great American Sandcastle Competition
About The Sandcastle Competition: Panama City Beach hosts the annual Schooners Sand Sculpting Contest, and if you think you’ve got what it takes, you can enter! It’s part of a massive seven-day lobster festival and tournament featuring gigantic lobster weigh-ins, activities, competitions, and so much more. Around mouthfuls of freshly prepared lobster, you can “ooh” and “ah” over the incredible sculptures artists craft out of sand or join the competition yourself!
Why You Shouldn’t Miss It: The sand sculpture contest is a great family activity, and the fresh-made lobster is to die for. Snap tons of pictures–you won’t want to forget this experience along 30A in Florida!
8. Go Hiking in Point Washington State Forest
Address: 5865 US-98, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
About Point Washington State Forest: The Eastern Lake Trail System in Point Washington State Forest consists of three double-track loop trails. Choose from the 3.5-mile, 5-mile, or 10-mile loop. You can hike or bike the trails. The trailhead and parking lot are on County Road 395.
Why You Shouldn’t Miss It: Hiking the state forest is a way to see the conservation land up close and personal. And you may see some wildlife along the way, including rare species like the American kestrel, gopher tortoise, or flatwoods salamander.
9. Ring the Bell at Bud and Alley’s
Address: 2236 East County Rd 30A, Seaside, FL 32459
About The Bell: Bud and Alley’s is a rooftop bar that’s worth a visit. Enjoy a drink and a sunset view over the Gulf of Mexico. An old brass bell rings each evening to signal the end of a fabulous day. It’s a tradition that locals and tourists alike love to experience!
Why You Shouldn’t Miss It: The fun tradition of the bell ringing makes for a memorable stop during your time on Highway 30A. But those breathtaking ocean views and the reminder of your excellent day are what really count.
What Will Be Your Favorite Stop?
Are you ready for a road trip to the Emerald Coast? There’s more than enough to keep you occupied on Highway 30A in Florida. If you visit, we hope you’ll enjoy one or more of our nine favorite activities. And please send us some photos if you do!
Looking for a place to stay the night? Find the Best Camping in Florida Panhandle State Parks
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